Many gamers fondly remember growing up playing their games with friends on their couch. GO-OP Gaming invites you to visit them on their couch and relive those memorable times.
GO-OP Gaming was started in September of 2014 in St. Louis by two game enthusiasts in an attempt to give more voice to the Midwest gaming community. Dyllon Graham and Christian Off met while working at Best Buy in Brentwood. Both only lived in St. Louis for about a year. Bouncing off ideas for the channel and going back and forth on a name, they decided to start their YouTube on a previous YouTube channel run by Graham. “[Graham] used to be famous. Don’t let him twist it on you,” Off smiled. “He used to have a skateboarding channel that had 7,000 subscribers.”
It was not a smooth transition for the fans of the site to change the content from skateboarding to video games. But this did not discourage some encouraging voices that inspired them to start completely over from the bottom with a new channel. It has a pretty strong initial following of 336 subscribers for being so new. While GO-OP Gaming is a unique name to search for to subscribe, why choose that name?
The task of choosing the name was no easy quest for Graham and Off. They went back and forth for weeks trying to choose something that would still sound appealing to them a week later. Finally, the first part of their name GO-OP Gaming was created by combining the first letters of their last names: Graham and Off.
“Cooperative was the idea. To bring a couch cooperative revival of playing N64 games and having a face camera and doing all of that,” Graham said.
While they didn’t have a face camera at first, they started to create weekly content and split expenses 50/50 as the group went forward. Graham had plenty of video editing experience from running his previous channel to help the group edit and create content quickly. “I’ve had some YouTube advertising experience. I know how to get around on YouTube. I had the equipment and I had done all the editing,” Graham said. Graham taught Off the video editing process so they could share responsibilities and help the channel grow by creating content faster.
Soon after, Preston Burns teamed up with the group- creating the trifecta of hosts seen in most videos posted today. Graham and Off met Burns at Best Buy as well. Burns being a new St. Louis resident at the time, too, ran two other podcasts before, including 3.5 Inch Floppy Disk. He also brought structure and talking points to the channel.
“[Burns] pulled in the reigns in on the podcasts. He got it reigned in to where we got structure- like normal, professional podcasts,” Off said. Off continued to note Burns’ marketing influence for the group by creating business cards and bumper stickers that were exclusively on each of their cars.
“My latest mantra has been to effectively own St. Louis and Midwest gaming for anything,” Graham said. GO-OP and other Midwesterners, like Geekly Podcast, try to compete with bigger online presences from both coasts when it comes to gaming content “I would like to be a lightning rod for future people,” Graham said.
They are a self-funded group and have not taken any money from fans through any campaigns. GO-OP Gaming pays for prizes and giveaways of games, like their latest giveaway of Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain.
They try to keep up their fan presence by going to events, but find it difficult to pay for all the conventions on the coasts. “It’s really expensive to go to those bigger conferences and stuff like that, so you can go to Wizard World in St. Louis and Chicago… I was nearly going to the Star Wars Celebration this year which I’m very disappointed that I didn’t get to go,” Burns said. “But Pixel Pop is right there and pretty cheap.”
The previous year Burns was able to demo Hive Jump by Graphite Labs and was pleasantly surprised to learn about other local gaming companies through these conferences. “When I went to Pixel Pop last year it blew my mind to find out that we had so many gaming companies working here in St. Louis. You don’t realize it until you go to a conference or convention.”
Burns, like many other gamers, played a StarCraft mod called StarCraft Universe which is like a World of Warcraft game. He was excited to meet the creator at one of the conferences and found out that the creator was from St. Louis.
“We would like to do more, but crowdfunding- even if we got bigger, I don’t know. I always like being able to do it ourselves,” Off said.
GO-OP Gaming accomplishes more than video games from their couch and conferences. While they don’t raise money for their efforts, they do help others. This past year they participated in Operation Supply Drop (OSD). This program reflects the support that gamers give other gamers in the form of video games as a distraction for active-duty military and veterans and a bonding opportunity for all service members. OSD sends monthly care packages to United States and NATO troops who are deployed overseas or who are in recovery hospitals. The packages themselves are a myriad of things: consoles, extra controllers and headsets for all consoles and PC, latest and classic Xbox and Playstation titles, and t-shirts.
GO-OP Gaming joined different YouTube bloggers, game developers, gamers, and others around the nation to raise money to send these supply packages to soldiers. GO-OP decided it was best to invite their viewers to watch 24 games in 24 hours, a different game each hour, while continuing to ask for donations. Although very tired by the end of the day, they exceeded their goal of $200.
GO-OP Gaming records every Monday and releases on Tuesday. A YouTube video is released twice a day- morning and night. The docket, created by Burns, goes through an intro and weekly “what’s up?” where they discuss the games they played that week. “We get a news story and then we give you our off-the-cuff opinions on it,” Off said. Burns uses Twitch as well with a segment of “Shitfaced Saturdays,” pronounced in the best Sean Connery accent you can muster. Here, as you might be able to guess, is where he plays through games while drinking. Those gems are released Saturday and Sunday so viewers can mark their calendars.
All the segments are filmed with their face cameras which was also a debate because of extra editing time needed for video and audio. But they finally agreed to keep the camera. “I think the face-cam makes us more personable,” Graham said. Burns quickly interjected, “You see us on the couch, you’ll be there with us, and you can relate to us a little more.”
“The whole point of the channel was to do something that people don’t normally do which is to hang out and play video games with your friends,” Off said.
GO-OP Gaming is looking for more players to join them on their weekly endeavors. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Twitch.